Daily Dose

Advertising on Instagram

Fusion Posted by Fusion Advertising on Instagram

Ads have recently made their way to Instagram, and we have mixed feelings about it.

Prior to advertising, Instagram was being used effectively by many brands. They had to build fan bases with quality content, and acquire followers who had a genuine interest in what they were doing. That was the beauty of Instagram – it was all about photo discovery and building an inspiring feed.

It’s no surprise that advertisers are enticed by Instagram. The app has recently overtaken Twitter with 300 million active users and it continues to grow everyday. The majority of its users are drawn from the youngest age brackets, with 41% in the 16-24 demographic. They’re also more likely to be in the top income quartile.

Instagram has only allowed brands with a strong existing following to advertise. The company is so determined to make ads fit seamlessly into users’ feeds, that Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom is personally approving each one. Fun fact: ads are rumoured to cost up to half a million dollars per month.

The ads look like regular posts but are prominently marked “sponsored.” Let’s take a look at some sponsored ads we’ve seen:

*Instagram released the results from the pioneer brand campaigns on their business blog two months after the initial US launch. 

Advertising was the beginning of the end for Facebook in a lot of ways, and it would be a shame to see Instagram become the same type of platform. At the same time, these ads are high quality and don't feel as intrusive. 

How do you feel? Do you mind the ads?

The B Word

Kara Posted by Kara

The first time I saw this commercial, I definitely laughed out loud. And while it’s pretty cute and pretty funny, it is also resonating pretty perfectly with my personal goal for 2015: to figure out how to slow down, live in the moment, and back away from this mindset that being constantly, unendingly super busy is the only way to be a successful, ambitious, competent person.

Our culture in general seems to really value busyness. We complain about it, but it’s expected and embraced at the same time. Most of us feel we don’t have any choice but to be busy. After all, there’s just so much going on and so much to do, and then there’s FOMO to worry about… so you keep up or get left behind.

The advertising agency world is a deadline-driven, always-say-yes kind of place. It can feel very expected and encouraged to let work take over your life - like you get some weird kind of industry-cred for being bleary-eyed and hunch-backed from way too many hours at your computer. Aside from work, we all have families, friends, pets, events, obligations, errands, and life in general that all have to be balanced, and it’s easy to just accept that full speed 24/7 is literally just the only option. But is it?

Probably not. At least I’m starting to think it’s not. So this year, when the calendar flipped over and everyone started talking about New Year’s Resolutions, I started thinking about being busy. I decided that maybe 2015 was the year that I started to give myself a break. I work hard, and that’s cool, but somewhere in between deadlines and goals and crossing things off lists, I want to make sure I don’t miss out on just enjoying life.

So while saying “no” is still not my biggest strength, over the past couple of months I’ve been slowly taking steps toward slowing things down, letting go of some responsibilities and commitments, and enjoying some downtime (and it only counts as downtime if you aren’t feeling guilty the whole time). Mostly, I’m just looking to find ways to get better at enjoying and living in the moment, instead of getting distracted by what’s next and what needs to be done. Maybe you’re really good at that – if so, feel free to pass along some tips. And let’s all remember to use our holiday days, shall we?

Cards Against Humanity- for Branding?

Dolores Posted by Dolores Cards Against Humanity- for Branding?

We have all invested time and energy developing our branding resources to use when working with clients on their brand identity. Now Scott Thomas of Simple.Honest.Work. in Chicago has maybe come to our rescue with what he believes is the ultimate tool to make it even simpler and more effective.

With the help of Mark Temkin, one of the people behind the game “Cards Against Humanity”, Thomas has created a deck of cards with adjectives used by many of us to help clients define who they really are and are not. Each team member gets their own deck to sort through and then as a team decide what really applies to them and what definitely does not. Pretty simple.

Instead of funding the project on their own, they turned to Kickstarter.com to crowd source and have so far raised more than their goal. They are now also working on a “Not safe for the workplace” version, again with the “Cards for Humanity” people (I wouldn’t want to accidentally mix those decks up).

This venture will be interesting to follow and although I believe we will stick to our own tried and true methods, I can see these cards showing up in some branding agency boardrooms, or more likely, the “not safe” version being played every Friday afternoon in the lounge. Check it out!


The Top Ten Super Bowl Commercials of 2015

Florence Posted by Florence The Top Ten Super Bowl Commercials of 2015

In case you haven’t checked them out yet, CBC put together this article on what they’ve dubbed the top 10 commercials of this year’s Super Bowl.

Bookending the list are two emotional spots – one about dads, the other about girls. I loved them both. My husband and I held a Super Bowl party and all the guys loved the Liam Neeson/Clash of Clans commercial (one of the few to be aired on TV outside of the US, it seems). Mindy Kaling’s Nationwide spot had me laughing out loud. And don’t even get me started on the Budweiser commercial!

What are your faves from this year?

Good news: the CRTC has taken action and starting with the 2017 Super Bowl, Canadians will now see all of the same ads as Americans!

Does Controversial Advertising Sell Product?

Dave Posted by Dave Does Controversial Advertising Sell Product?

An ad for Just Liquid Soap states, “If you aren’t totally clean, you’re filthy.”

I recall fighting tooth and nail over some of the ideas my creative team would come up with in years gone by. With a sly smile, they would show me something that was way out there, something that could be argued was in the land of controversy…while others might say, in the land of bad taste.

“But it will get attention! And that is what we are all about! It will stop people in their tracks and make them pay attention."

“But it will royally screw up their brand," I would say.

Here’s one that you might remember that went viral in 24 hours and got 15 million views on YouTube in just eight days. The ad agency was tasked with dealing with Kmart’s out-of-stock issues. It’s absolutely brilliant and funny, but…


…but, it created backlash and made it onto the Today Show asking if the ad went too far. Messages to kill the ad flooded in, but Kmart’s agency followed with another brilliantly conceived, but…


…but maybe too much and off-brand, with kids sounding like they’re swearing on TV.

Kmart is a family-friendly retailer. And this campaign was counter to their brand image. It gained incredible attention, but did it sell product? Kmart’s sales fell over 2% in that quarter. The lesson learned here, I think, is that if you want to be controversial, it has to fit the brand and you have to create that edge in the shopping experience. Kmart didn’t and people who loved the ads found nothing new and exciting at Kmart. And those that hated the ads shied away from shopping there.

Here’s one that worked, but everything fits (and I received it in our office Christmas gift exchange…and (testimonial warning) it works!)…


32 million views on YouTube and a 90% increase in sales, expected to climb to $60 million. Reactions to the ad were extremely positive.

Here’s one that failed miserably and shocked everyone associated with the brand and was pulled the same day it ran…


I think you can see why. Of all things, “suicide” doesn’t sell. It can have impact, but look out!

I find that when we can fit the sentiment of the ad with the sentiment built into the brand, and we can be controversial, we can win. Otherwise, controversy can stink in advertising.

(with help from Terry O’Reilly at CBC’s “Under the Influence”)

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